Wattles: An early pioneer of New Thought
Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling book The
Secret, few people know that the New Thought movement has had strong
as early as 1910 thanks to author Wallace Wattles. Wattles is best
known for writing
The Science of Getting Rich, a guide to empowering individuals to
wealth through positive thinking and self-motivation, as well as The
New Thought movement is mostly
propelled by the belief that positive thought, applied to daily living,
help you achieve success in any part of your life. By practicing such
principles, you can reach a divine state that promotes healing in
others. It is a
movement composed of
philosophical intellectuals, various religious denominations, and
figures associated with the movement are William James, Joseph Green,
in 1860, Wattles came from an
underprivileged family, with a farmer for a father, and a housewife for
mother. In 1896, while attending a convention, he was greatly
influenced by a
minister George Herron, who practiced Christian Socialism. Wattles once
for the Methodist Church, but was fired due to his Christian Socialist
writings. He also dabbled in politics, running for small roles in
in Indiana, and lost twice.
Towne of the New Thought magazine Nautilus ran a lot of Wattles’
Wattles often taught lectures in Chicago, then the hub of the New
movement. Wattles was a firm practitioner of his own teachings, and
creative visualization to attain his goals. His daughter attests that
success was brought about by his constant writing and self-improvement.
also a big admirer of writers such as Georg Hegel and Ralph Waldo
encouraged his readers to explore their writings.
Wattles was married to Abie Walters,
had three children, Florence, Russell, and Agnes. Florence followed in
father’s footsteps, and became a Socialist herself.
died in Tennessee in 1911, just
following the publication of his two popular books. He was 51.
Secret was actually greatly influenced
by Wattles’ The Science of Getting Rich. Its author Byrne recalls her
giving her a copy of it during a tumultuous time of her life, thus
inspiration for her book.
Wattles never gained commercial
popularity, he is still regarded as an important fixture of the New
movement, with his works still being referenced by self-help
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